There was a bit of a scare — a false start halted Usain Bolt’s effort in the quarterfinals of the men’s 100 meter event in Day 1 the Jamaica Olympic trials in Kingston on Thursday night.
A chorus of mumbles rippled across the half-filled stadium when the double Olympic champion’s race was called back after a false start, evoking memories of the world championships in Daegu last year. Much to the relief of the 4,500 spectators on hand, however, when the red card was issued it was to Ainsley Waugh and not to Bolt.
In the end, Bolt clocked a comfortable 10.06, exploding from the blocks and, as expected, pulling clear of an inferior field. Jaques Harvey was second in 10.15, while Mario Forsythe also booked his place in Friday’s semi-finals with a time of 10.18. Bolt has been in impressive form so far this season, clocking a season best 9.76 to lead all competitors in the 100m event. If there is a weakness for the sprinter, however, it remains his start, which he admits he has to improve.
The sprinter lost his title to training partner Yohan Blake at the 2011 World Championship in Korea, after false starting in that final. On both occasions this season, although registering impressive times (9.76 in Rome and 9.79 in Oslo), Bolt was forced to chase compatriot Asafa Powell from behind.
It was the performance of Blake, however, that was the highlight of the first day’s proceedings. The sprinter, known as ‘The Beast’ for his furious training ethic, clocked 10.00 flat in a competitive heat, but in a manner that suggested there could be fireworks from the powerfully built sprinter in store for the semi-final and finals Saturday.